It starts with a smile, your smile to be exact.
So choose an option below and let’s see the power
your smile has to change forever™ for a child.
Every 3 minutes, a child is born with a cleft lip or cleft palate. Too many children are suffering from a TREATABLE condition that threatens their lives and livelihood. One in 10 of those children won’t live to see their first birthday. Together, we can help these children, their families, and communities change forever™. You’ve already taken the first step by sharing your smile with us. Let’s see how far your smile can go!
It’s a misconception that cleft deformities are just cosmetic deformities. The truth is, they’re life-threatening conditions. A child who is unable to eat properly runs the risk of malnutrition and, for one out of 10 children born with a cleft lip or palate, death. Those who are lucky enough to survive their first year are subjected to a life of shame, isolation and uncertainty.
Hundreds of thousands of children are living with the harsh physical and emotional challenges that come with an unrepaired cleft. Unable to eat or speak, they are tossed aside, forgotten, with little hope to be accepted by society. Many of these children’s families can’t afford the surgery that can change forever™.
A cleft is an opening in the lip, the roof of the mouth or the soft tissue in the back of the mouth. It may also include an opening in the bones of the upper jaw and/or the upper gum and can occur on one or both sides of the mouth.
As little as $240 and as few as 45 minutes can change forever™ for every child, every family, and every community affected by cleft lip and cleft palate. Operation Smile not only performs life-changing surgeries, they leave behind a legacy of education, training, and equipment that helps build a self-sufficient global health network focused on continuing the mission of transforming lives.
One in 10 children born with a cleft lip and/or palate don’t live to see their first birthday.
Imagine if that “1” was one of your good friends. Together we can change forever™ and ensure every child born with this affliction has reason to celebrate.
In Vietnamese, Ngan's name means "star," but she wasn’t able to smile brightly because she was born with a cleft lip and gaping hole in her palate.
Ngan spent the first three years of her life in isolation, living in a poor, small village in the Quy Nhon province of southern Vietnam.
Her family lives off of the equivalent of $500 U.S. dollars per year, so they would never be able to afford the life-changing surgery that would give Ngan the chance at a bright future. But when Ngan’s parents heard that Operation Smile was holding a medical mission in Danang, Vietnam, Ngan and her family traveled for miles for the chance to heal Ngan’s smile.
Even though they arrived late on the last day of screening, their efforts paid off and Ngan was accepted for surgery.
Nine years later, Ngan is the happy, healthy, vibrant girl she was always meant to be. She now has many friends in her village and loves to study with them. Though her school offers very basic education – enough to read and write – Ngan’s teachers say she is a hard-working student and enjoys reading. Ngan dreams of one day becoming a teacher and bringing further education to the children in her province. That dream is made possible by the gift of a free surgery she received as a child. Her parents are very thankful that Operation Smile has not only given their daughter a dream, but a real future, too.
Now, Ngan is able to continue in school, and someday, get married and have her own family. We can’t help but smile.Back
A child’s new smile transcends. It brings understanding to communities, bridges cultures, and removes barriers. Through our outreach into communities, training of local medical professionals, and partnerships with hospitals, government agencies, and business leaders, we help lead nations to common ground. Education, determination, and your support allows us to transform uncertainty into potential and light the way for those children who can’t find us.
We’ve spent the last 30 years healing the smiles of thousands of children, mending the broken hearts of their mothers, and restoring the promise of a bright future to their fathers. Our work leaves a lasting impact and builds a new future sustained by hope, powered by knowledge, and realized by generosity. We change forever™. That’s the power of a smile.
As the largest volunteer-based surgical cleft organization in the world, our goal is to increase access to safe, quality surgical care and create long-term self-sufficiency around the globe. We accomplish this by training doctors in developing countries, empowering them to treat their own communities every day. With the help of more than 5,000 medical volunteers from over 80 countries, we are able to work in more than 60 countries, performing over 200,000 free surgeries and providing more than 3.5 million free healthcare evaluations. The impact of our work is positive and lasting, leaving behind a legacy of trained medical staff that work year-round to ensure more children are healed and more lives change forever™.
The worldwide demand for cleft repair surgery is staggering. In order to meet this global demand, it’s imperative we work with local communities, partners and governments to build a sustainable solution and raise greater awareness to maximize the positive impact on children around the world. Together, we can inspire action and leadership through actively participating in the world health community and increasing access to safe surgery. We are doing more than just repairing smiles. We are creating systemic change within our partner countries to become a catalyst for improved healthcare around the world, ensuring we can reach every child in need.